I hope you get your friends the Levins together – or just one of them, really — and read this today with a Levin at eleven past eleven – 11:11 on 11/11/11.

I’m as childish as anyone else when it comes to this stuff.

I have other things to say – I almost sort of met Bruce Springsteen Wednesday night and did meet Uganda’s bravest man Thursday morning – but because [insert excuse here], I’m taking the day off.

Except for these two items that I wanted to post:


‘There’s one big difference between the Catholic Church and Penn State. Once the cover-up came to light, coach Joe Paterno and University President Graham Spanier were immediately fired. Yet, 10 years later, not one — not one! — Catholic bishop has been fired. Religion is still more powerful than football.’ – from Bill Press‘s latest column


Well, it’s clearly not Perry or Cain (or Gingrich, Bachmann, or Karger). And though it’s almost surely Romney, there are two nagging problems. First, relatively few people seem to like him. Second . . .

From the Washington Post:

The consistently inconsistent Mitt Romney
By Ruth Marcus
Published: November 10

Mitt Romney, blessed with a series of self-destructing opponents, still needs to come up with a better way to address his history of flip-flops. His current argument boils down to asking voters, ‘Who are you going to believe, me or your lying ears?’ This is not going to fly.

Romney made the jaw-dropping claim to a New Hampshire editorial board that his problem wasn’t flip-flopping – it was being insufficiently robotic. ‘I’ve been as consistent as human beings can be,’ the former Massachusetts governor insisted. ‘I cannot state every single issue in exactly the same words every single time, and so there are some folks who, obviously, for various political and campaign purposes will try and find some change and draw great attention to something which looks like a change which in fact is entirely consistent.’

Pressed during the CNBC debate Wednesday night, Romney repeated his consistency argument – this time topped off with an ode to his long-lasting marriage and an attack on President Obama.

‘I think people understand that I’m a man of steadiness and constancy,’ he said. ‘I don’t think you are going to find somebody who has more of those attributes than I do. I have been married to the same woman . . . for 42 years. I have been in the same church my entire life. I worked at one company, Bain, for 25 years. . . . I think it is outrageous the Obama campaign continues to push this idea, when you have in the Obama administration the most political presidency we have seen in modern history. . . . Let me tell you this, if I’m president of the United States, I will be true to my family, to my faith, and to our country, and I will never apologize for the United States of America.’

In court, this answer would be ruled non-responsive. Romney’s ability to stick to a marriage longer than, say, Newt Gingrich or to keep a job is not what’s at issue. The question, and it’s a legitimate one for anyone who has spent even a glancing amount of time examining Romney’s record, is whether he shifts ideological position with the political winds. Fidelity to one’s marriage or one’s religion says something about a candidate’s character, but it does not deal with the flip-flop question. Neither does a jab, justified or not, at the opposition.

‘I will never apologize for the United States of America’ does not respond to the question: Why did you change your positions on abortion, gun control, gay rights, climate change, immigration – even on Ronald Reagan?

If I were a Republican voter legitimately worried about Romney’s ideological shape-shifting, I would be insulted by this attempt to change the subject.

Perhaps, given the weakness of the opposing candidates, Romney can still skate by. After Wednesday’s gaffe, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is nearly finished. Voters don’t want to see Mr. Oops – or Mr. Giddy in New Hampshire – negotiating with a foreign leader.

Former Godfather’s Pizza chairman Herman Cain is one data point of corroboration away from imploding. Even if nothing more emerges to bolster the substance of the sexual harassment allegations against him – and two financial settlements plus an on-the-record allegation seems too much to disbelieve – his ham-handed handling of the story is nearly disqualifying on its own.

As to the notion that former House speaker Newt Gingrich could emerge as the anti-Romney – that’s hard to imagine. Gingrich’s attack-the-media-at-the-first-opportunity strategy is not going to get him very far even with Republican primary voters. He makes Romney look like the guy you want to hang out with.

But Romney’s failure to rise in the polls even as his opponents flail suggests that the flip-flop issue isn’t going away. There’s no magic solution to this problem. You can’t give a speech on flip-flopping. But flip-flop denialism isn’t going to work – especially when it is so easy to go to the videotape. . . .


Comments are closed.